SCALZO: Massillon's Devin Jordan hopes biggest impact comes off the field

Joe Scalzo
Updated: Friday, July 14, 2017
Massillon's Devin Jordan (right) talks with former Tigers head coach Rick Shepas during Friday night's Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame ceremony at Skyland Pines. (CantonRep.com / Scott Heckel)<br /><div id="dfp-300x250" style="float:right;"><script type="text/javascript">googletag.display("dfp-300x250");</script></div>
Massillon's Devin Jordan (right) talks with former Tigers head coach Rick Shepas during Friday night's Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame ceremony at Skyland Pines. (CantonRep.com / Scott Heckel)


CANTON  Standing firmly in McKinley Bulldog territory, Massillon's Devin Jordan started his Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame enshrinement speech with the letters T-I-G.

The rest of it was devoted to letters like A-C-T and G-P-A and F-A-M-I-L-Y.

The former Tiger standout may have earned a place in the Class of 2017 for what he did on the football field, but here’s what he wants you to understand: Football is just something he did for three years.

It’s not who he is.

“A lot of people remember me as a football player,” said Jordan, now entering his fifth year as the wide receivers coach for Walsh University. “I don’t think I am a football player.”

Who is he?

He’s a son, one who had one of the best games of high school career in the playoffs against Perry (seven catches, 190 yards, two TDs), only to witness a more important performance when he arrived home after curfew.

“The first thing my mom said was not ‘Great game, Devin,’ but ‘Give me your car keys,’” he said. “It shows the leadership my parents had for me, to guide me in the right direction.”

He’s a brother, one who thanked his siblings for being there with him “at all times” in high school when he was getting recruited by some of the top football schools in the country and his life was getting crazy.

He’s a teammate, one who thanked his fellow Tigers and former head coach Rick Shepas for helping him understand what it took to reach his potential.

He’s a husband, one who thanked his wife, Brandi, for sacrificing her time and ambition to raise their two children while he works the long hours that come with being a coach.

He’s a father, one who hopes his two children will someday understand why he works so much and who will one day share his same desire to change their community.

He’s a believer, one who, when injuries ended his Ohio State football career, heard God’s voice telling him, “This is only the beginning.”

“He told me, I’m going to use your story to help as many people as possible,” Jordan said. “I feel like God put me on this earth not to be known as a football player, but as a mentor to young people. Yes, I am a Stark County High School Football Hall of Fame member, but that’s not what I want to be known as. I want to be known as a mentor to as many kids as possible.

“Through God, I think that’s going to be possible.”

Jordan recently started a charity, Beyond the Game, that stresses the importance of education, so that young athletes will start planning for life after their playing career.

“It’s not just important to put a ball in a crib,” Jordan said, referring to a famous Massillon tradition. “We need to put books in the crib. We need to tell kids not just to be the leading scorer on the basketball team, but to be a leader on their team, in their school and in their community.”

If you paged through Jordan’s program biography on Friday night, you would have seen his Massillon records for career receptions (152), receiving yards (2,511) and touchdowns (31).

You would have seen his Stark County single-season records for receptions (98), receiving yards (1,492) and receiving touchdowns (18).

You would have seen his numbers from that famous Perry game.

But that’s just a minor part of his story.

“Here’s a couple stats they don’t tell you: I had a 3.87 grade-point average out of high school and I had a 27 ACT in high school,” Jordan said. “I always wonder, ‘Why is that?’ Why we do we honor athletes for what they do on the field or on the court, but we don’t honor academics?”

Jordan doesn’t have the answer.

And he's not going to stop asking the question.

 

Reach Joe at 330-580-8573 or

joe.scalzo@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @jscalzoREP